Metcash has launched a new concept in fruit, vegetable and fresh retailing under the Harvest Market Brand.

Harvest Market is targeted to be a fresh fruit and vegetables, delicatessen, floral, bulk foods and continental grocery.

The Harvest Market network will be independently owned, franchised outlets. Three initial stores have opened in NSW with expectations more to be rolled out in Australia.

Nick Pagett, general manager of Fresh Fruit of Metcash Food & Grocery, said the company wanted to challenge the national chains with specialised fresh food outlets.

“The independent, franchised outlets provide good value, pitched at the middle of the market and are extending their ranges from fruit and vegetables to include other fresh delicatessen and continental grocery products,” he said.

Pagett said the company is in discussions with a  number of existing fruit and vegetable shop owners who were looking to join a franchised network.

“We are providing fruit shop owners a fixed price service for the sourcing and delivery of product to the outlets. Through our fresh buyers at the markets we are delivering great prices, as well as well funded merchandising and marketing campaigns, using the successful formula we have used for IGA owners over the last decade,” he said.

“Metcash is also providing owners the opportunity to expand their product offering with well priced, high quality fresh produce and delicatessen sections, all delivered by our highly skilled logistics team.”

The launch of Harvest Market follows the successful introduction of the IGA Marketplace in Sydney and Brisbane, aimed at inner city dwellers with a vast selection of more than 11,000 grocery products, a heavy emphasis on fresh and gourmet food ranges, coupled with a full service delicatessen and café.

“Harvest Market addresses the rapidly changing tastes and habits of grocery shoppers, who are seeking high quality fresh produce in their local area,” Silvestro Morabito, chief operating officer of Metcash Food and Grocery, said.